Celtic defender's transfer 'fate' decided as Hearts striker responds to Rangers transfer speculation

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The latest Celtic and Rangers transfer news headlines on Tuesday...

Rangers are back in Scottish Premiership action on Wednesday as they prepare for the first of their two games in hand over leaders Celtic when they welcome St Johnstone to Ibrox.

The newly-crowned Viaplay Cup champions can close the gap to just two points on the Hoops with a victory. Celtic, meanwhile, are not in action this midweek as Brendan Rodgers' continues to dissect a dismal league defeat against Hearts at Parkhead last Saturday.

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Away from the action on the pitch, the January transfer window is fast approaching and the rumour mill continues to turn. Here are the latest Celtic and Rangers headlines on Tuesday, December 19:

Celtic defender's transfer 'fate' decided after limited exposure

Nat Phillips is due to return to Liverpool next month.Nat Phillips is due to return to Liverpool next month.
Nat Phillips is due to return to Liverpool next month.

Per a report from The Athletic, Celtic will NOT extend Nat Phillips' loan spell next month with the central defender set to return to Liverpool after his lack of game time.

The Anfield loanee has made just eight appearances for the Scottish champions - four as a substitute - since signing a short-term deal at the end of August due to a mini defensive crisis. Phillips scored an own goal in last weekend's Premiership defeat at Kilmarnock and was banished from the matchday squad during Saturday's 2-0 loss at home to Hearts.

Barring further injuries or suspension, the centre-back could well have played his last game for the club prior to the loan agreement with the Premier League side ending next month. Various reports suggest he is likely to be loaned out elsewhere for the second half of the season.

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The 26-year-old struggled to get up to full match sharpness and he will now head back to Jurgen Klopp's side in January just days after Celtic assistant boss John Kennedy confessed that the club would need to offload a couple of defenders, with seven currently on the first-team books.

Hearts striker responds to Rangers transfer speculation

Rangers-linked Lawrence Shankland admits he won't let transfer speculation affect his goal scoring form at Hearts - adding such rumours are proof that he's doing his job well for the Gorgie club.

The Scotland international - a boyhood Gers supporter - has notched 14 goals for club and country so far this term and has led Jambos chief executive Andrew McKinlay to warn that it would take an "exceptional" bid to prize the 28-year-old away from Tynecastle.

Hearts are planning to open contract talks with Shankland, who is entering the final 18 months of his deal, in the new year in an attempt to swat away any January interest.

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Commenting on the speculation, the striker stated: "It's a sign you're doing well when there's speculation, that's what I take from that. It's always been the case throughout my career, there's always been speculation flying about. It's a sign I'm doing my job well and scoring goals. That's all I focus on, doing my job for Hearts and doing it well."

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